What I’ve Learned

I have sat down about a dozen time since getting back from Zambia to try and share my thoughts on what I am feeling and what God taught me on this trip but each time I sat down I would find myself staring at a blank screen and my mind would just go black. But my friend Hannah who went on the Trek7 to Costa Rica just posted this blog about her time in Costa Rica and what she learned and it is pretty much exactly what I have been thinking/feeling and trying to convey to you. So instead of trying to sit down and type a new blog I thought would repost hers!!!

It feels like yesterday I was sitting in my bed at home the night before I left for training in MN. Now, 7 weeks later I’m once again sitting in my bed at home, except for this time, I’m not waking up to go on an adventure for a few weeks, I’m waking up […]

via Update 8: What I’ve learned. — Trek7

Home

Home. Home is the word I would use to describe what I feel. The joy of seeing the orphanage children again is so indescribably. I wish that everyone could feel this right now. It feels as though nothing can ever make me feel as happy as I do now.

We went to the orphanage today just for a bit but just that short time made my heart feel like it will explode. Seeing the improvements that have been made to the orphanage are astounding- from new staff members added to Sara Rose, to the physical changes that have been added to the orphanage, and most of all the growth of the children.

If anyone has been following my journey since my first trip you will know that there have been a couple children that have made a lasting impact on my life- Given, Pasco, and Deborah.

Given has been at the orphanage since she was little and has a very sweet spirit about her. She has had her fair share crap in her life but she presses on. She is 8ish years old and totally recognize me this morning!! She had the biggest, brightest smile on her face the whole time we were there!!!

Pasco is a 6 year old little boy who has cerebral palsy and as result he doesn’t have a very high range of motion that other children his age would have. He has involuntary muscle spasms and is unable to support his head. He has been at the orphanage since he was a baby. He spends his days laying on a mattress in the common room watching TV. When we walking in the room he looked very sad but as soon as I went over and he saw me and I said hello his face lit up like no other and brightened the whole room! My heart felt like it would explode with overwhelming joy!

And last but not least my sweet little Deborah! Victoria had one of the other orphanage moms bring her out and my heart skipped a beat!!! She walked up, in her school uniform, with her friend Moses and it was all I could do to hold back the floodgates! My frail and fragile little girl from last year is all grown up!! I ran over to her and picked her up immediately p gave her the biggest hug. We went into the common room and sat down and her friend Moses was with us and they started playing together. She was running around with him, smiling, laughing, and being the happy little girl I wasn’t sure she would ever be!! She is talking, she knows her numbers, and overall has improved so incredibly compared to last year!!

I knew I had left my heart here in the past years but coming back and feeling God slowly put the pieces back together has been amazing. I feel so at home here in Zambia. Everything that I remember being astonishing on my first trip seem so normal. Having spotty electricity, trash fires, crazy bumpy dirt roads, speed bumps every 30 feet, children walking around everywhere you go, people walking alongside the road with the cars and crossing the street in a moments notice, driving on the other side of the road than in America, school children in uniforms, moms carrying children on their backs, women and children holding baskets of food on their heads. It all seems so normal and I love it!! I am so incredibly thankful for all that God has done in my life to bring to to this very moment!!

Prayer Requests:

  • continued strength as we are still adjusting to the 9 hour time difference
  • wisdom when interacting with the children
  • faith to trust in Jesus and His timing for everything
  • Rissa and Johnny- especially for Rissa to reach out to the church we told her about

Jesus,

Thank you for bringing Jenna and I to Zambia. We trust in you that you have an amazing plan for our life and for this summer! Thank you for all that you have done in Zambia through Sara Rose Childrens Foundation. Please help Jenna and I to have wisdom when we are interacting with the children around us. Thank you Jesus!

In Him,

Shelbyrae

His Grace Abounds

I am in awe of how amazing Jesus is. He is always there. Never changing. He loves me unconditionally. I love that about Him. He is full of grace and is willing to forgive me no matter what I do to stab Him in the back. I get so caught up in myself that I forget these things. We become so focused on ourselves- having the best clothes, the best job, the most money, the newest phone, etc. We become so focused on material possessions and supporting ourselves that we forget to give our lives to God. We forget what is means to be solely reliant on God and to trust that He will provide what we need exactly when we need it.

One of my friends who is currently in Costa Rica with Trek7 wrote a blog about how it is so hard for us to surrender things-the big things and the little things. We get so caught up in serving ourselves that we either forget to serve those around us or we just choose not to. (To read her full post click here)

I pray that on this trip and beyond I will continue to learn what it means to surrender my life over to Jesus. That isn’t just a one time thing, it is a daily act of waking up in the morning and saying “Ok Jesus this day is yours, do with it what you desire.” It is a conscious daily activity that needs to be done. In the Jesus Calling for June 28th it says “The true question is not whether you can cope with whatever happens, but whether you and I (God) together can handle anything that occurs.” We do not need to do this life alone, we need to turn to Jesus and surrender our life to Him, and let Him take control. Much easier said than done trust me I know!

The past two years have been some of the hardest years of my life. I spent two weeks of my summer before my Junior year in Africa and fell in love. But coming back to America and the materialistic nature we embody disgusted me. Often times it literally made me sick to my stomach to see all of these people who are complaining about not have the newest phone or the newest style of clothes when I had just spent two weeks around people and children who need the basic necessities to get through life. I was angry. I was bitter. I was disgusted. But most of all I was broken. I couldn’t understand why God has put me in America when my heart was clearly in Zambia. It became a daily struggle to turn to Jesus and let Him take control. I remember there were days that turned into weeks that I was so mad at God it made it hard to get through the day.

Last year coming back from my 7 week trip was no different. I was still angry, still saddened, still disgusted, and still broken. But God placed a couple people in my life who showed me that there were hurting people right in front of my eyes. He showed me that these people have everything anyone could ever need except for Jesus. He showed me that I could be a missionary in my own backyard just as long as I was willing to put myself out there and love on those around me.

Romans 8:7-8 “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God” Matthew 6:19-20 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rush destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lead up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where you treasure is, there your heart will be.” These verses are incredibly convicting but they serve as a good reminder that we cannot put our hope and faith in things of this earth but in the things of above.

I pray this prayer for everyone who will read this blog and I pray that you will start to pray this for those around you as well!!

I pray that when you look at those around you that you would see them through the eyes of Jesus. I pray that you will be able to speak to them the same way Jesus would speak to them. I pray that you will be able to love them the way Jesus would love them. And most of all I pray that you will listen to God’s calling in your life-whether that be long term, short term, or someone who He placed on your heart to pray for. I pray that you are sensitive to the Lord’s little and sometimes not so little nudges.

Prayer Requests:

  • Jenna, and I met with some of the leaders and administrators of Sara Rose to plan out our time here- we will be doing a lot for GlobalFingerprints, we will be going through some bible studies with the children and discipling them!
  • Please pray for wisdom, pure hearts, and clear minds for Jenna and I as well as everyone else who will be helping us with the children!
  • Please keep Rissa and Johnny in your prayers!
  • Please keep all the other teams in your prayers (If you missed my blog with prayer requests for each team you can click here)

Thank you all so much for faithfully praying for Jenna and I on this trip so far!! It means the world to us!!